April 1, 2014
A message from Sarah Groen-Colyn

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


I watched with prayerful concern this week as World Vision announced that it would employ men and women in same-sex marriages.  Thankfully, this week also brought the news that the united voices of the Remnant effectively called World Vision to reverse its decision and return to alignment with God's will for marriage and sexuality.  There were two aspects of Richard Stearns's comments that I found especially relevant for those of us called to minister healing to the souls of God's people. 


First, in defending the policy change, Stearns stated, "We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church" (click here to read article). We cannot separate action from theology.  Our call to minister healing and freedom arises from and returns to a right understanding of who our God is.  The very existence of this schism in our worldview and hearts  ̶ the idea that the operations of the Church can be separated from Her theology  ̶ cries out for healing.  How can we hope to bring any mercy or justice to the world without being incarnate of the truth of Jesus Christ?


Second, Stearns made the case for the change in hiring policy by claiming, "We've got to find our way to unity beyond diversity in the Christian church. ... We have to find [a] way to come together around our core beliefs to accomplish the mission that Christ has given the church".  We will never find unity by attempting to reconcile good and evil.  Any move toward unity that forsakes those oppressed by the brokenness of homosexuality is counterfeit and harms the most vulnerable among us.  To suggest that a true, biblical understanding of human identity and sexuality is a matter in which we fragile humans can afford a diversity of opinions only serves the aim of evil, which seeks to destroy and devour God's most precious creation, man and woman.  It is no mercy to tell the poor that they are rich.  Permissiveness amounts to abandonment when we legitimize humans seeking completion where it can't be found.  

I am grateful for God's mercy in correcting World Vision's decision, and I rejoice at World Vision's repentance.  "You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness" (from Stearns's reversal announcement, see CT article here.)  I pray that God will bless World Vision, its board members, executives, and staff with a rich in-filling of His truth and mercy as the fruitful gifts of their humble confession and right action. 

World Vision ministers to the materially poor.  MPC ministers to the poor of soul, which is in fact every one of us, by lifting up the Cross of Christ.  We are proud to serve Ministries of Pastoral Care's mission to all who know poverty of soul, including the particular suffering of broken sexuality.  "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 nkjv). 


When the Spirit blesses precious men and women with an awareness of their poverty and quickens their search for the Bread of Life, we are here.  Each of you reading this message, wherever God has planted you on His earth, carries the Word of Life in your heart and stands ready to share that Word with every pilgrim and needy one you meet.  Sin has marred the image of God, and in Christ's presence we are made new.  Our call is to proclaim the truth which separates light from darkness and calls all to repentance: "Come out of the prison house, the kingdom of God has come near to you!"  The Church has become poor in her ability to minister healing to the broken; yet in Christ we receive again the unsearchable riches of our almighty God.  We thank God for the wisdom He imparts to His Church through Leanne's books and ministry.  We are honored to continue in her legacy, inviting all to come and receive freedom and be empowered to offer others the same. 

As Leanne wrote in The Healing Presence, "We are becoming persons.  We become as we remain in Christ."  Praise God for Christ's life poured out freely for every man and woman, that we might receive Him in repentance and be made glorious in His presence!  I am pleased now to share with you an article written by Mary Carrington, one of the gifted prayer ministers who serves with MPC.  I pray you will deeply receive her words, which radiate with the hope of becoming true selves in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Under the mercy,



The Real Self: Becoming in Christ





 Mary Carrington


Woody Allen's movie Zelig portrays a character Leonard Zelig whose need for approval is so great that he adopts the identities of those around him. He adopts their attitudes and perspectives while minimizing his true self in an attempt to fit in. Psychiatrist Harry Karlinsky, professor of clinical psychiatry, University of British Columbia, notes that Zelig had forty-four "transformations" in the movie.


Of course, Zelig's "true self" is not the real self that Christ encourages us to grow into. The real self is the divine image of Christ in us that emerges as we partake of the incarnational reality of Christ living within us. As Leanne Payne writes in Real Presence, "By the principle of the incarnation, the Highest is transposed into the lowest and man finds himself resurrected in every faculty of his being. This is the true, the whole self" (p. 75).   


Our false selves fail to live out of our true center in Christ. Instead, we live out of the unaffirmed hurting little boy or girl or out of the self-pitying self and other illusory selves. C. S. Lewis paints a picture of the false self through the ghostlike characters in The Great Divorce who fail to become real. In chapter 11, Sarah Smith of Golders Green meets two ghosts, a dwarf and a tall Tragedian. The dwarf is all that is left of Frank, the real self, who was Sarah's husband on earth. When Sarah tells the Tragedian that she does not need him anymore he exclaims, "Would to Gud [God] I had seen her lying dead at my feet before I heard those words" (p. 111). The Tragedian, or false codependent self, needs to be needed so much that he cannot exist without being needed. Sarah, a picture of the real self in union with God and no longer enslaved to her own sin and brokenness, lives in the fullness of her true center, because she lives in "Love Himself." How many of us can live from the true center?

Lacking a true center in Christ, the false self is entirely self-centered and focuses on its own needs. Leanne Payne gives us a great example of such a false self as she writes about Charles Williams's character Wentworth in the novel Descent into Hell. Wentworth lives in an illusory world populated by fantasies. As he loosens his grip on the real world, he descends further and further into the hell of the false narcissistic self, and like the Tragedian in The Great Divorce, his real self becomes smaller and smaller.


Christ calls us to become. C.S. Lewis writes in Beyond Personality about the transformation that happens when we choose to become. "He meant what He said. Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect--in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, and immortality" (p. 50). Our real selves then will reflect the image of God as we put ourselves in  His hands.

My husband, Doug, and I have watched in awe and wonder as one young man, "Josh," that we have been praying with is being transformed into his real self. Josh's addictions and diseased fantasy life are some of the most severe that we have ever encountered. Through what Leanne Payne calls "radical repentance," renunciation of the idol god Baal and confession of sin, the diseased fantasy lives and illusory worlds Josh had created began to lose their grip on his soul. His deep emotional pain and abandonment wounds began to surface, and he began to see how he had manipulated others, seeking their approval, love, and affirmation.


As he repented his healing has progressed. Josh's imagination was cleansed and began to be filled with images of the holy, of glory, and beauty instead of the vile pornographic images that had at one time filled the empty center in his soul, forming a false sense of being. Through healing prayer he was given the power to see truth, and as Leanne Payne writes in The Healing Presence, "the power to recognize and hate the delusion-and to walk away from it and into his "true center" (p. 84).

Josh's healing journey has not been easy, but his willingness to obey and follow Christ in the path of repentance is bringing him out of the dark, illusory world and into the glory of redemption. His false selves are being revealed as he practices the presence, and he is being transformed from "glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).


As we take the healing journey and our real selves emerge, Christ, promising us heavenly aid, will never leave our side. As the bright spirits sang to Sarah of Golders Green in The Great Divorce:

Falsehood tricked out as truths assail her in vain: she sees through the lie as it were glass. . . .

He details immortal gods to attend her: upon every road where she must travel.

They take her hand at hard places: she will not stub her toes in the dark. . .

He fills her brim full with immensity of life:.. (p. 117).


Finally, in the Eastern Orthodox Lenten service, the soul is pictured as a coin that has been marred with the dirt of sin, and no longer reflects the image of the glory of God or the "real self."  As we repent and obey, the image of God in us shines brighter and brighter.


O Savior, I am the coin marked with the King's likeness, which Thou hast lost of old. But, O Word, light Thy lamp . . .and seek and find again Thine image.  


(Canticle Six of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete)


Karlinsky, H. (2007). Zelig: Woody Allen's classic film continues to impact the world of psychiatry. Canadian Psychiatry Aujourd'hui 3(5). Retrieved from http://publications.cpa-apc.org/browse/documents/265

Scripture quote 2 Cor. 3:18 is from the King James 2000 Bible.


Registration is underway for 2014 Wheaton MPCS
Registration is underway for the 2014 Wheaton Ministries of Pastoral Care School. The conference will be held from Sunday, June 15 through Friday, June 20, 2014 on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.


If you have never had the opportunity to attend an MPCS, I pray that you are able to attend this year! For those of you who have attended previously, it is my hope that you are able to come again. I know that God has wonderful things in store for all of us.


For more information on the various packages and costs, or to register, please click here or visit  www.ministriesofpastoralcare.com/schools.


Download a PDF of an invitation to the Wheaton MPCS to share with friends and loved ones.  Simply click here to download the file and save to your computer.  


Please contact me at  lori@ministriesofpastoralcare.com if you have any questions.


In Christ Jesus,

Lori Coffey, Registrar



Free Audio Files!


We pray that God Himself will speak to you through "The Holy One" and "The Virtue of Self-Acceptance" (presented by by Sarah Groen-Colyn and Tommy Briggs at the January, 2013 MPCS in Christchurch, New Zealand). To listen to this free audio file, please visit http://mpcs.myshopify.com and click on the arrow button in the middle of the page. 


While you are there, you may also browse the collection of audio files from previous schools that are available for purchase and download. 



Donate to MPC

For those of you who would like to donate to MPC, please visit our website and click on the "Donate Today" button in the lower right of the page; or you may send a check or money order payable to MPC to:


Ministries of Pastoral Care

P.O. Box 3792

Peoria, IL  61612-3792


Ministries of Pastoral Care Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Federal Tax ID# 27-1707421